“This is one of the most fascinating genetic studies in medicine I have seen in a long time," geriatric psychiatrist and former APA President Dilip Jeste, M.D., told Psychiatric News. "Whereas typical genetic investigations focus on genes and proteins that increase the risk of specific diseases, this study examines the role of a protective protein—REST—that appeared to reduce the risk of developing dementia in highly vulnerable older adults with multiple plaques and tangles in their brains.... The suggested reactivation of a fetal protein in old age that may serve to protect against Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is remarkable. Finally, the reported association of lithium with promoting REST activity may open new windows into our understanding and possible treatment of dementias. It may also shed new light on the cognitive impairment that is commonly seen in people with mood disorders. Obviously, any specific study has its limitations, and much further work is needed to replicate and extend these results. Nonetheless, there is reason for cautious optimism that new discoveries may be on the horizon.”
Read more about Alzheimer's research in the Psychiatric News articles, "High BDNF Levels May Offer Protection Against Alzheimer's" and "Plasma APOE Levels Linked to Dementia Risk."